Supreme Court Deputy Registrar quits over Yakub Memon hanging order

Surendranath is a faculty member of Delhi’s National Law University and director of the Death Penalty Research Project.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: August 2, 2015 3:54 pm
President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday rejected the mercy plea of Yakub Memon crushing all hopes of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict. 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon. (Source: Express Archive)

A day after he said the apex court’s decision in the Yakub Memon case amounted to “judicial abdication”, Supreme Court Deputy Registrar (Research) Dr Anup Surendranath resigned on Friday.

Confirming his resignation, Supreme Court Public Relations Officer Rakesh Sharma said: “The authorities have accepted his resignation, which mentioned he wanted to be relieved for research work. He has been accordingly relieved after tenure of more than a year.”

Surendranath is a faculty member of Delhi’s National Law University and director of the Death Penalty Research Project. He had involved the Death Penalty Research Project as a co-petitioner to support Yakub’s case, and engaged senior advocate T R Andhyarujina to argue against the validity of the death warrant. He attended all the court hearings, including the pre-dawn hearing on Thursday that sealed Yakub’s fate less than two hours before he was to be hanged.

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Speaking to The Sunday Express, Surendranath said he wanted to focus on his work on death penalty in India and highlight inconsistencies in the judicial administration of death penalty and its constitutional unviability. “I will not want to comment on the reasons why I resigned,” he said.

But in his Facebook post on Friday night, Surendranath said: “I have been contemplating this for a while now for a variety of reasons, but what was played out this week at the Supreme Court was the proverbial final nail — I have resigned from my post at the Supreme Court to focus on death penalty work at the university.”

He added: “It is in many ways liberating to regain the freedom to write whatever I want and I hope to make full use of that in the next few days to discuss the events that transpired at the Supreme Court this week.”

Hours after Yakub’s execution on Thursday morning, Surendranath had posted: “It would be silly and naive to see the events of the last 24 hours at the Supreme Court as some triumph of the rule of law — the two orders at 4 pm on 29th July and 5 am on 30th July (and the reasoning adopted therein) are instances of judicial abdication that must count amongst the darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India.”

An attempt by Yakub and the Death Penalty Research Project to have the execution stayed over legality of the death warrant first failed on July 29. After this petition was dismissed, Yakub’s lawyers and Surendranath’s team camped outside the Chief Justice of India’s office to secure a pre-dawn hearing on Thursday. The second attempt also failed, and Yakub was executed at 7 am on Thursday.

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  1. R
    Robert
    Aug 2, 2015 at 10:51 am
    I am not sure as to the kind of political and judicial system of India. Political system of course, as far as I know is hot bed of corruption and breeds criminals. But the judicial system, which upholds the democratic values is being questioned when terrorists are punished. The surprising aspect of free speech is that even those who are sentenced for prison terms enjoying freedom due to their political affinities, but come out with statements on behalf of this criminal Menon. The moment he escaped to stan itself betrays him as to where his loyalty remained and authenticated his culpability. What is happening in India is strange as those negate the death penalty, are not looking into the larger picture of Indian system. Death penalty in India is very rare. Many in the death rows are eventually receive reprieve and the sentence is changed to life in prison. In Yakub is a terrorist and worked against the country and in fact he was waging a war. His escape to stan ascertains that he was an agent of stani Intelligent services with which his brother Tiger has connection. Hanging an agent of stan should not stir up the communities if they are loyal to their mother country. We all know that the enemy stan is waging an undeclared war on India. that eny uses all means available at its disposal to disrupt the Indian civilization. it is also involved in sabotaging Indian economy with distribution of fake currencies. Those against Memon's sentence are divisive and and with misplaced loyalty. Further, India must be stern in executing her laws. The corpses of those considered terrorists, must not be given to the relatives . They should be disposed and in isolated and inaccessible, in a small piece of land earmarked for traitors of India. The deserve no such decent burial. Besides the relatives should be isolated with all civil rights abrogated as people stateless but as fugitives in India. Tiger Menon, who is now in POK is training hard to handle fire arms. Of course let us expect a carnage with a bigger magnitude. After all ISI is efficient in sending terrorists across the boarder. India must be prepared and abandon political based judicial system. Therefore Salman Khan must be sent to serve his jail term. Symathiseres of terrorist must be sent to jail for life. India cannot go for a war with her enemy stan, as India is not prepared at all. stan is prepared well with powerful air force and land army which are more than enough to defeat India. India also made stan a nuclear power. It is no war no peace environment. Besides Indians are not as courageous as the stanis to send men across the boarder to carry out missions. With all these weaknesses India must clean up the system within by tightening her laws to contain terrorism. Above all, justice system must not be compromised to meet political ends. Death sentence should be a must, with the living relatives to pay the consequences throughout their life span.
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    1. M
      mundukraj
      Aug 2, 2015 at 7:48 am
      Good. He has the audacity to question and also bring pressure on the judiciary. Indian judiciary, except during Emergency, has an outstanding record of performance, notwithstanding the huge pendency of cases piling up in all the courts. Such perverted thinking has no place in civilized world. Advocates of ban on death penalty are suffering from a complex which cannot be cured because they steadfastedly adhere to wrong thinking, illogical brain use and seek cheap pority, without regard to public opinion. Perpetrators of terror who mindlessly kill hundreds of innocent persons in cold blood have no business to exist; nor is the society enled to waste public money on their maintenance in prison cells.
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        Vishwanath
        Aug 2, 2015 at 11:23 am
        You are arguing for a man who has never expressed a regret for what he has done.
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        1. R
          raj
          Aug 2, 2015 at 9:52 am
          i think your mother suffered from Bal thackerey result u born
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          1. R
            raj
            Aug 2, 2015 at 9:56 am
            ya your mother and sisters suffered in those riots, they deserve it bcoz of you
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